The Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State (ISE) is ranked among the top ISE departments in the United States on a wide variety of subjects from 3D-printing manufacturing technologies to streamlining healthcare systems to using virtual reality for rehabilitation.
Why is this Experience Important?
Undergraduate research is intended to provide an opportunity for you to get involved in scientific research. This experience is especially helpful if you are interested in graduate study towards an MS or Ph.D. degree immediately after completing the undergraduate degree. Here is how undergraduate research becomes helpful:
- By closely working with graduate students on cutting edge projects funded by industry or government agencies, undergraduate you can have a pretty good idea if you would enjoy a career path in scientific research.
- By working in laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for research, You — the undergraduate research assistant — can gain valuable skills unattainable in undergraduate laboratories.
- Practical research experience is a skill premium when you apply to graduate school for further study, or to government agencies, or corporations for employment.
- All graduate schools (and better companies) ask for letters of recommendation. A letter from a research supervisor can help you a great deal.
When is a Good Time to Start Undergraduate Research?
Typically, you apply for undergraduate research positions after you complete your sophomore year. It is unlikely that you will secure a position without completing any of the ISE courses. Furthermore, taking introductory courses such as ISE 215 and ISE 216 helps you understand what industrial and systems engineers do in different specialization areas. This is key in identifying the right project for you.
How can a Student get Involved in Undergraduate Research?
The undergraduate research positions are competitive; therefore, a good academic standing will be helpful. Most faculty will be very interested in discussing their research projects with you.
Make an appointment with an ISE advisor to talk about your technical interests and future career goals. The coordinator will identify a few members of the ISE faculty involved in the type of work you are interested in, and contact them on your behalf to find out if a position can be created for you. Before meeting with the coordinator, you are advised to review the faculty research page to identify faculty members who are interested in the same sort of work you want to do.
Research Experience Utility
Check out the latest research opportunities provided by our faculty, submit your application to get started, or fill out a general interest application for any future opportunities that may become available.